Has Your Child Seen an Orthodontist Yet? | Toronto Teacher Mom

Has Your Child Seen an Orthodontist Yet?

Friday, May 07, 2010

With a 4-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son, I find I'm always worrying about their growth and development. My daughter just recently underwent a tonsilladenoidectomy and had fluid drained from her ears. I didn't realize that was the reason she would always say, "What?" everytime we asked her to do tidy up her toys. I just thought she was ignoring her responsiblities! Our major concern, however, was the sleep apnea. We didn't know she had enlarged adenoids, which was the main cause, until we had an x-ray taken. Thankfully, she is sleeping more soundly now.

We have taken her to a pediatric dentist a few times since she turned 3 but what I didn't know was that it is recommended to take your children to see an orthodontist before the age of 7. According the American Association of Orthodontics, this early checkup may allow the orthodontist the opportunity to identify underlying problems that may later affect teeth alignment. Did you know that even with baby teeth, an orthodontist can detect existing or developing problems? It is also interesting to note that orthodontists are required to undergo an additional two to three years of specialized education on top of the years spent in dental school, allowing them to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. In partnership with the AAO, the Ontario Association of Orthodontists suggests that your child meet with an orthodontist if you notice any of the following:

• Early or late loss of baby teeth

• Difficulty in chewing or biting

• Mouth breathing

• Jaws that shift or make sounds

• Speech difficulties

• Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth

• Facial imbalance

• Protruding teeth

• Grinding or clenching of the teeth

• Thumb or finger sucking

As if I didn't have enough to worry about! But really, if keeping an eye out for these warning signs means helping my children maintain a healthy smile and straight teeth, it's worth booking an appointment. My son sucks his fingers so I have to watch out for that, I know. And my daughter had been breathing through her mouth a lot at night due to her enlarged adenoids. So I know I will definitely be taking them both to see an orthodontist over the next year or two. If you are looking for an orthodontist in Ontario, the OAO has a handy orthodontist locator on their site.
Also, the AAO along with Pat Smith, wife of football player Emmitt Smith, have begun a sport safety campaign aimed at raising awareness of the potential injuries our children can suffer during sports play. Join moms across the U.S. and Canada and pledge your support at Moms For Mouth Guards by taking a free pledge and helping to raise awareness. By doing so, the AAO will donate funds to the National Alliance for Youth Sports.

And if your child has ever gone through the braces process, encourage them to enter a video contest to win a $2,500 scholarship. Here are some more details:
“How Orthodontics Changed My Life” Video Contest

The AAO is sponsoring a video contest for U.S. & Canadian students who have gone through the braces process. Videos must be under two minutes and should answer the following questions:

What were you like before you had orthodontic treatment?

What kinds of changes have you noticed?

What does your new smile mean to you?

All entries must be submitted to the AAO by June 1, 2010. The two winning entries will receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used towards post-high school education. Winners will be announced July 1, 2010.

Full terms and conditions and information on how to submit an entry can be found here.

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